The Stone Research Foundation released findings of the longest and largest study of its kind on biologic knee joint repair. The study, published in July’s issue of The British Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, indicate that arthritic patients can forestall, or in some cases, avoid, total knee replacement with artificial joints by opting for meniscal allograft transplantations performed concurrently with articular cartilage repair. The techniques replace worn meniscus with donated tissue and use the patient’s own stem cells for repair.
These research results could help significantly impact the ever-growing practice of artificial knee replacement. The number of artificial joint replacement surgeries is predicted to increase to 3.4 million by 2030, with proportionate increases in cost as the baby boomer population ages. “Biologic joint repair represents the frontier of regenerative medicine,” said study author Dr. Kevin Stone. “Patients often ask ‘isn’t there a shock absorber you can put into my knee?’ They’re not ready for an artificial joint.” Dr. Stone teaches biologic techniques to surgeons around the world.
The report by the Stone Research Foundation, is based on a study of 119 meniscal allograft transplantations performed concurrently with articular cartilage repair in 115 patients with severe articular cartilage damage.
The Kaplan-Meier estimated mean survival time for the whole series was 9.9 years. Loss of the meniscus generates increased forces on the articular cartilage of the knee and other joint structures and increases the risk of the development of arthritis. The appropriate treatment for loss of the meniscus with unicompartmental arthritis remains controversial, with treatments including osteotomy, unicompartmental (UKR) or total knee replacement.
The study was approved by an independent Institutional Review Board. The study abstract is available via The British Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery or at www.stoneresearch.org.
(Source: Press Release)